The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put an end to supplementary elections in Nigeria.
Convener of the coalition of 70 civil society groups, Mr Clement Nwankwo, made the call yesterday in Abuja at a news conference on the observation of the elections.
Nwankwo said the call to end supplementary elections became imperative because it appeared that the process was now a manipulation tool to circumvent the will of the electorate.
He said that the group deployed observers for the supplementary governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states and noticed some ills.
He said that some flaws observed were recurrent in Nigeria’s elections and as a country they ought to be condemned, especially the voters intimidation and insecurity that resulted in shooting of a returning officer in Benue.
“The widespread incidents of violence, thuggery and abuse of the electoral process, especially as reported in Gama ward of Kano must be addressed by INEC.
“Situation Room believes that the level of abuse recorded in Gama ward is of such monumental proportions as to necessitate INEC expunging the outcome of the supposed voting results from the final collation.
“Safety of election day workers, INEC and ad hoc staff, observers is not guaranteed and portends great danger for future elections in Nigeria.
“Actions of political parties and their supporters continue to undermine the confidence in our electoral process as well as the rights of citizens to participate fully in election and cast their votes without fear.”
Nwankwo said that incidences of violence was recorded in some local government areas in Bauchi, Kano and Benue where thugs threw stones at voters.
He said that some reports received showed instances of over-deployment of security personnel such as in Plateau.
He said that the group was puzzled by the situation in Kano where the deployment of senior police officers could not stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation.
Nwankwo said that reports showed that instances where security personnel, most especially the police and civil defence, with challenging situations were met with inaction.
He said that Situation Room was concerned that abuses of electoral process occurred in spite of the deployment of top-level police officials, including a Deputy Inspector-General and three assistant inspector general and commissioners.
Nwankwo said that in the previous elections, a state commissioner of police took charge and there was less violence so it was ironic to see this quantum of violence in spite of heavy deployment.
He said that there were reports of widespread vote buying in Kano and Bauchi states and underaged voting was also recorded in Plateau and Sokoto states.
He said that observers were denied access to the collation centre contrary to INEC regulations and guidelines.
Nwankwo said that Situation Room would continue to reiterate that elections could be conducted devoid of violence.
2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River
Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.
Afenifere, Ohanaeze, S’ South Harp On New Constitution
Major socio-political organisations in Nigeria have demanded what they described as a “new people-oriented federal constitution” before the 2023 general elections, saying the 1999 constitution does not represent the interest of the masses.
They also unanimously agreed that the new constitution should provide for a “true federalism that heralds a restructured Nigeria,” while the 2023 Presidency should be zoned to the South.
These were the highlights of a communiqué issued at the end of the Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Transition Inter-Ethnic Peace Dialogue, with the theme, ‘Restructuring and 2023 Power Shift: Nigeria’s Make or Break Factor for Political Survival.”
The event which was held in Abuja was convened by Kennedy Iyere, the President of the Youths Off The Street Initiative, and his diaspora partners, in collaboration with ethnic nationalities and local non-governmental organisations.
Among participants at the programme, attended by over 300 delegates, were the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Chairman, Igbo World Assembly, Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze; President, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide; a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chief Kofoworola Bucknor; and President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Jonathan Asake.
Others were Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum, Senator Emmanuel Ibok; former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko; former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr George Obiozor; convener, National Consultative Front and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba; a political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; and a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.
While insisting that “federal character should be used in federal appointments”, the elder statesmen charged the Federal Government to “urgently address the recurring security challenges in the country as part of the efforts to avert a second civil war and possible disintegration of the country.”
The mandate of the committee is to facilitate Nigeria’s constitutional restructuring and the country’s return to true federalism, while working to promote national unity, peace, ethno-political integration, religious harmony and national stability.
The communique reads, “The meeting asserts that Nigeria needs a ‘new people-oriented federal constitution’ before the 2023 general elections given that the current 1999 constitution does not represent the interests of the people.
“The meeting insists that the new constitution should provide for ‘true federalism’ that heralds a restructured Nigeria (and) calls on the Presidency to live up to its mandate of preserving lives and properties by contending with the current insecurity.
“The meeting demands the convening of an emergency ‘national conference ’ to take place in the Year 2022 to fashion out a new federal constitution on the way forward for the federating regions. The meeting agrees that the ‘2023 Presidency’ should be zoned to the South.
“We demand the amendment of the ‘Electoral Law’ to provide for electronic voting and real-time transmission of results before the 2023 general elections to provide for transparency, accountability and to allow the ‘sanctity of the ballot box’ and to reduce electorates’ voting apathy.”
Ex-APC National Chairman Tasks Party On Responsive Leadership
Chief John Odigie-oyegun, former National Chairman, All Progressives Congress APC), has charged the party’s leaders to be more progressive and responsive to the people.
He said this at the public presentation of a book”APC’S Litmus Test, Nigerian Democracy and Politics of Change”, written by Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Congress Forum (PGF) in Abuja, yesterday.
“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime, and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change, “we should be responsive to it, we should address it, compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that the APC document on true federalism was still being worked upon before its release.
Odigie-Oyegun said the ideas of people from different parts of the country would be different up to the extent that they would want to go with the proposals in the document.
He said it was however, necessary, vital and mandatory in the interest of the survival of the country that issues regarding federalism were addressed.
“We cannot continue to allow the subject to become something that threatens our nation at any turn.
“So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people.
“It becomes easier then, to diffuse the kind of stresses that the nation is passing through today,”Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that for those at the formation of the APC, the uniqueness of its Constitution and its manifesto promised change was meant by all members with their hearts and beings.
He said unfortunately, the forces of economics had made things not quite the way it was planned.
The APC former national chairman said there was need for the party members to do everything possible to keep it not just alive but very virile.
He added that in spite of general belief, the APC was one party that had put together things that meant hope for the country.
He said the fact that things were bad and people were angry and hungry was not questionable, saying that these were worldwide phenomenon.
Odigie-Oyegun decried the current security challenge in the country.
“It is my hope that we will begin to get control of the security of this nation,” he said.
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